Low water pressure hindering firefighters in town of Grover emergencies

“We don’t want to lose water before we can actually make a difference.” firefighters said.
One small North Carolina town is dealing with a problem right under its feet.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 5:09 PM EST
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GROVER, N.C. (WBTV) - One small North Carolina town is dealing with a problem right under its feet. Low water pressure is causing a real problem for firefighters in the town of Grover during emergency situations. Several times in the past few years crews say when they need water to put out fires, all they get from the hydrants is a trickle.

The latest happened just a couple of days ago.

But fixing the problem would cost untold millions, so officials are looking for other ways to deal with the situation.

“Basically, we couldn’t fill the hose.”

Jimmy Hensley has been in the fire services for nearly forty years. He says he’s seen a lot, but what he saw Monday, he’d rather not see again.

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When we’re using a five-inch water hose pulling from a six-inch waterline, it doesn’t leave very much residual left over,” Hensley detailed.

“In fact, there was an issue.”

A problem Mayor Roy Dyer wasn’t aware of until this morning.

Our water system in the town is very old, and it’s built on a six-inch line system,” Dyer said.

Meaning the town water supply is delivered to customers using a fifty-year-old pipe that’s half a foot wide. Good for normal situations, but it may not be there when it’s in high demand like during a large fire.

“We don’t want to lose water before we can actually make a difference,” Hensley told us.

The problem came to a head after a fire destroyed a home just outside of town. It had burned for an hour before anyone even noticed. Crews arrived on the scene and tapped into this hydrant some eight-hundred feet away before running a large supply hose to the thirsty fire trucks. But because you need lots of pressure to fill the line, and that pressure wasn’t there, all it left rescue crews was a trickle.

“It took them about five minutes until they got the pressure restored,” the mayor said.

There are ways to fix the problem, like ripping up the water pipes and installing larger ones. But the cost would be astronomical.

“Millions and millions and millions of dollars down the road, and quite a few years to replace all of that,” Dyer explained.

But town officials are working on solutions that won’t bankrupt the county.

“Looking at grants and things like that to increase our water storage capacity,” Mark McDaniel with Public Works said.

That may also include pump stations and mutual aid help from other departments including a new tanker task for the town. Everyone WBTV talked to wanted to ensure the people of Grover there was no cause for concern, just a hiccup in the system they are working on to find solutions to.

“When we encounter a problem, we work on a solution and make it work on the fly,” Hensley said

The fire on Monday also hit pretty close to home. The owner is a lifelong firefighter who now lost just about everything. If you’d like to help, First Baptist Church of Grover is raising money to help the family out.

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